Striking Out a 50-Year Baseball Record
In his second season with the Defenders, the righthander went the distance in the 11-inning performance and walked one with three hits allowed in helping the Defenders start a three-game winning streak. Kim threw 139 pitches in the contest with over 90 for strikes.
A native of Seoul, Kim grew up throwing plenty of pitches while playing baseball in South Korea.
“I was able to maintain my power and speed, and I think the program the coaches have us on helped,” he says.
Kim’s catcher at his record-breaking game was Luke November, a freshman elementary education major from Cape Town, South Africa.
“We wanted to pound the zone, and if we did that, we’d get some quick outs or a bunch of strikeouts,” says November. “He got a bunch of strikes early and was able to move the ball across the zone, and he maintained his velocity.”
The pair have formed a chemistry in November’s first season with the Defenders. “Luke understands me and makes me comfortable,” says Kim.
“I caught games this fall and we’ve grown from there,” adds November. “He pounds the strike zone, and I love framing his low pitches. Game by game, our pitcher-catcher connection is growing.”
And what of the now-former record holder? Guy De Haan (’72) now resides in Pella, Iowa, and doesn’t have a distinct recollection of that March 24 meeting with Covenant College in 1972—partly because he was a high volume strikeout pitcher. He does remember that it was on a spring break trip for the Defenders where they played Covenant at Lookout Mountain, Georgia. That Defender team ended the season seven and seven, started the season with four straight wins, and was coached by Syne Altena. De Haan explains how he struck out so many batters.
“I threw a 12-6 curveball right over the top, and it dropped off at the end like a sinker. I had great catchers, and I made them work. My strikeout pitch was the curve, and they had to get it out of the dirt. There were many innings where I’d get four strikeouts in an inning because the batter would go after one in the dirt, but the catcher had a hard time handling it,” recalls De Haan.
The 15-strikeout day in 1972 was part of a 54-strikeout season for De Haan who played two of his seasons at Dordt with his older brother Case. Case ended his career at Dordt in 1970 with 147 career strikeouts, and Guy had 149 career strikeouts when he finished his career.
“I was privileged to be Case’s younger brother, and he had an amazing fastball. My fastball wasn’t like his, but he taught me at a young age to throw the curveball and that was my pitch,” says De Haan. “I have such great memories of going to Dordt. I loved going to Dordt, and I loved playing baseball for Dordt.”
What are his thoughts on now being second all-time in the record books for strikeouts in a game?
“I was thrilled to know I still held a record from my time at Dordt. I hadn’t thought about it in forever, and I am so pleased for Gyeongju—that’s fantastic, and I’m thrilled for him. I think I speak for all my Dordt baseball brothers when I say, it’s about time!” says De Haan.